The first week back was a struggle for Dallas ISD as the district faces a shortage of bus drivers.
The district asked the community for help solving the shortage Saturday, and many took it to heart. More than 400 people visited the job fair at the Leonard Center, which used to be the Dallas County Schools offices.
The crowd started lining up early and doors opened 45 minutes ahead of schedule to accommodate everyone. Chanthina Crosby applied to be a bus monitor, another position that needs to be filled.
“I always feel nervous when I do interviews, that’s the hardest part for me," she said. “I’ve worked with students before, especially little bitty kids, so I know how to interact with them and speak to them on their level. So that’s what I kind of bring to the table."
This is the first year that Dallas ISD is operating its own transportation. Voters decided last year to dissolve Dallas County Schools, the bus provider for several North Texas districts.
Many of those drivers transferred over, but some didn’t show up on the first day as expected. As a result, some bus routes are not able to operate, others are being consolidated and the district is working hard to get all kids to and from school as close to on-time as possible.
The district runs approximately 800 routes a day, bussing around 40,000 students.
“Of course we do the behind the wheel training with our safety specialists so they can provide coaching and instruction on what to do on the road. Then, once they’re hired, we don’t stop training,” said the executive director of Dallas ISD student transportation services, Kayne Smith.
The pay for bus drivers starts at $16.63/hr. Not all positions require a CDL license but the district does provide paid training for those who want one.
Sandra Jackson is already a Dallas ISD employee, but is now switching positions to help.
I’m very excited. I love my students, they know me. I’ve been at Longfellow for over 10 years. I’ve been in the district over 20 so I’m excited about doing it. I have great students and I see the need…we need our babies at school on time,” she said.
The district says the need is so big, their hiring season never ends.